Goodbye Number One Daughter

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A concerned, expectant scan:
There she is, over there,
Hard to detect from football bleachers;
Mixed in with all those tassels
And flat tops; white and navy robes;
Blondes, brunettes, and auburns.
Eighteen years and a graduate,
Clutching a roll of parchment
And the hand of an educator.

Her family's cheers and whistles seem
A tiny sound in a crowd of hundreds.
Can other relatives feel as powerful
A surge of pride married to nostalgia?

Yesterday moring she was pushed on a swing;
Nursing a knee slashed by glass
In the"jungle" of weeds and cinders,
Where the backyard blended from green
To the gray of a railroad embankment.

Heartbeats of time pulse from tears,
Blood and bandaids, to noon:
A girl scout and 4-H fun and new discoveries.
The clock ticked to zoos
And church and Sunday school,
Men and forts of snow and ice skating,
Spawned by Buffalo winters;
Budding springs; lazy warm summers;
Crimsons and browns of fall;
Close young friends and cousins;
Ties and times with other loved ones.

The pendulum swings, a harem girl
Appears in something flimsy and pink
For a dance recital,and then a vision
In a Spanish vaquero hat,
Flaming jacket and hip-hugger pants.
Learning something about rhythm and grace
To complement the unaffected beauty
Of golden tresses and azure eyes
That have a way of matching the sky.

Only minutes ago fretting about math,
Finishing a dress for home ec,
Or whether that certain boy would call;
Now facing the world on her own;
But we confront a cold vacuum
Subsuming warmth,love and close bonds.
Where will that sweep second hand
Take her into midnight and the new dawn?